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Manchester Voters Say 'Yes' To Library Funding Request

Susan Keese
The Manchester Community Library is expected to open later this year.

Voters at Manchester’s town meeting have approved spending almost $200,000 to help run a new library that’s set to open later this year.

Manchester held the municipal portion of its town meeting on Saturday. The library’s funding request was one of the most hotly debated items on the ballot.

The multimillion dollar building project is financed through private donations. Library trustees said the town appropriation -- a $44,000 increase over the previous three years -- would keep the library open six days a week instead of five and increase staff hours.

Manchester Select Board Chairman Ivan Beattie said the decision to build the facility was made by library trustees, not the town. He said the request was too much.

"I love the library," Beattie said. "But we can’t hold the taxpayers accountable for decisions that were made without their input. At the same time, we were faced with requests that did not come to fruition for Northshire Day Care or Riley Rink or even the rescue squad."

But Manchester resident Nancy Landis said the new library will serve everyone in town.

"There will be meeting rooms, there will be a lot of new learning experiences,” Landis said. "We don’t have a senior center. We don’t have a youth center. And the library will provide this." 

The request was approved on a voice vote.

Susan Keese was VPR's southern Vermont reporter, based at the VPR studio in Manchester at Burr & Burton Academy. After many years as a print journalist and magazine writer, Susan started producing stories for VPR in 2002. From 2007-2009, she worked as a producer, helping to launch the noontime show Vermont Edition. Susan has won numerous journalism awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for her reporting on VPR. She wrote a column for the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. Her work has appeared in Vermont Life, the Boston Globe Magazine, The New York Times and other publications, as well as on NPR.
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